1. The rat colonic circular muscle displays cyclic episodes of myenteric potential oscillations (MPOs), each of them associated with a spontaneous contraction. Nifedipine 1 μM abolished both MPOs and their associated contractions. TTX (1 μM) increased the amplitude and frequency of spontaneous contractions. 2. Electrical field stimulation (EFS) induced a non-adrenergic non-cholinergic (NANC) inhibitory junction potential (IJP), with two phases: an initial fast hyperpolarization (characterized by IJP amplitude) and a sustained hyperpolarization (characterized by IJP duration). 3. Sodium nitroprusside (10 μM) hyperpolarized and abolished spontaneous contractions even in presence of TTX or 1 μM apamin. ATP (100 μM) also hyperpolarized and abolished spontaneous contractions but its effects were decreased by TTX and abolished by apamin. 4. Suramin (100 μM) or apamin reduced the amplitude of the IJPs, but did not affect their duration. Incubation with L-NOARG (1 mM) reduced the duration but not the amplitude of the IJPs. In presence of L-NOARG plus suramin or L-NOARG plus apamin, both duration and amplitude of the IJPs were reduced but a residual IJP could still be recorded. 5. We conclude that the mechanical and electrical cyclic activity of the rat colonic circular muscle is modulated but not originated by the enteric nervous system and involves L-type calcium channel activity. EFS induces release of NANC inhibitory neurotransmitters which hyperpolarize and relax smooth muscle cells. Both ATP and NO are involved in IJP generation: ATP is responsible for the first phase of the IJPs involving activation of apamin-sensitive potassium channels, whereas NO initiates the second phase which is independent of the activation of such channels.
- Inhibitory junction potential (IJP)
- Myenteric potential oscillations (MPOs)
- Non-adrenergic non-cholinergic (NANC)
- Rat colon